Houthi Rebels Claim Capture of Post Inside Saudi Border

Officials from Yemen’s Shiite Houthi militia say their fighters and allied troops have captured a Saudi military post in the border region of Jazan, according to reports. 

According to a report in the Associated Press, the claim has been denied by a Saudi military spokesman. However, a 15-minute video clip posted on social media networks and aired late Wednesday by the Houthis’ al-Masirah TV “purportedly shows the shelling of the hilltop post and the attacking force examining weapons and ammunition left behind by the Saudi soldiers who fled,” the AP reports. 

Saudi soldiers on the Kingdom's southern border with Yemen.

Saudi soldiers on the Kingdom’s southern border with Yemen.

The reported seizure of the border post is the latest escalation in the nearly 18-month long war between the U.N.-recognized government of Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition backing it, and the Houthi militia and its allies and backers, including Iran. 

The war has frequently spilled across Saudi borders with Houthi attacks into border towns with short-range missiles and other incursions that make life for Saudis living in the Jazan Province dangerous. 

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah al-Moallimi said in August that nearly 500 Saudi citizens were killed following 1700 border attacks by Houthi militias. At least 10,000 people have died in Yemen as a result of the fighting. One estimate put the damage to Yemen’s economy at $14 billion. 

Troops along Saudi Arabia's border with Yemen in Jazan, Saudi Arabia.

Troops along Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen in Jazan, Saudi Arabia.

Civilians in Yemen continue to bear the brunt of the war. A recent ABC report cited a UNICEF representative in Yemen as saying that the health care system is “close to collapsing” with many children unable to gain reliable access to clean water and medical attention they need.

The war has also led to a lack of food and jobs in Yemen, the ABC report found. “National systems are on the verge of collapse, especially the health system. Back in June, the price of a basic food basket was the highest in the past six months, while the prices of cooking gas, diesel and petrol also increased significantly, according to a UNICEF report published in the end of July.”

The border post seizure was not the only troubling development in Yemen today. In Hodeida, Yemen’s second-biggest port which is controlled by the Houthis, rebels seized two oil tankers today from international traders in a payment dispute, Reuters reports. The incident could make it more difficult for the country to import vital supplies.